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FEARNET.com News and Reviews

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    As if you could forget... but tonight is the premiere of Reaper and season two of Holliston, all part of FEARnet's Twisted Comedy Tuesdays.

    First, at 9pm ET / 6pm PT is Reaper. The 2007 cult favorite kicks off right at the beginning, with Sam Oliver learning on his 21st birthday that his parents made a pact with the devil - he is the son of Satan.

    Then, at 10pm ET / 7pm PT is the premiere of season two of Holliston. The FEARnet original horror-sitcom stars filmmakers Adam Green and Joe Lynch as themselves - albeit less-successful versions of themselves. In the season two opener, the boys kidnap a suicidal Kane Hodder to get him to star in their short film, "Shinpads."

    You can only watch Holliston and Reaper on FEARnet. Don't have FEARnet? Click here to find out how you can get it.


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    This beauty comes from the always-entertaining genre & pop-culture site Freddy In Space: custom toymaker Retroband has come out with what I'm pretty sure is the one and only after-market collectible based on the title creature from the campy sci-fi/horror cult classic Night of the Creeps.
     
    Creeps2Creeps3
     
    The first release from the indie company, the “Creep” isn't technically what you'd call a figure, but it's a very accurate reproduction of one of the film's thousands of wriggly, slug-like parasites which turn their hosts into homicidal zombies. It actually looks kinda fun to play with too, so you might be tempted to crack the seal on this package.
     
    Creeps4
     
    It's limited to just 25 units – so if you're interested, get over to Retroband pronto. If you miss out, it looks like their next offering is a skeevy Creepshow cockroach, so there's that...
     
    Creeps5

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    At the time you read this, you probably would have or are about to see Elijah Wood as deranged serial killer Frank Zito in the remake of William Lustig's 1980 cult slasher Maniac, Alexandre Aja's latest service to horror and his third outing as producer. Why didn't he direct, you ask? It seems that Aja has been expanding his horizons to pastures anew with dark supernatural love fable Horns, an adaptation of Joe Hill's acclaimed novel.
     
    With surprising casting in Daniel Radcliffe as Ignatius “Ig” Perrish - the vengeful, horn-headed lead and accompanied by fresh up and coming BAFTA winning British talent Juno Temple as his ill fated love interest, this is looking to be Alexandre Aja's most intriguing work yet. We managed to sit down with Alexandre amidst a very hectic schedule for a brief chat to get the skinny on his strange new project.
     
    Horns_EW
    FEARnet: For those out there who don't know, what exactly is Horns?
     
    AJA: Physically its a very kind of dark rock 'n' roll fable of a man who sells his soul to the devil to get revenge on the person who killed his girlfriend. It's much more complicated than that but it's really about what you would do to figure out and get your own justice who destroyed your life and killed the woman you love.
     
    Horns_bookA revenge movie?
     
    It's not exactly a revenge movie, it's more on the angle of a love story. Whoever knows the book, the book is really smart, it goes beyond the Faustian kind of deal. It's really about the guy whose life was destroyed in the wreckage, who woke up one morning with horns growing on his head, who has this ability to make people confess to him the worst of their thoughts and the worst of their deepest secrets. It's why I loved and laughed and fell in love with the book like so many other people; it's because of this mix of genres – it's at the same time scary, at the same time emotional, the same time dark and funny. You can imagine a very weird mix between Fight Club and Black Swan. It's really the vibe of Joe Hill's book and that’s what I tried to translate to the movie.
     
    This all sounds like a completely new direction for you, away from horror...
     
    It's a complete different direction, you know? As far as all the movies I make, yes, I'm making a movie in the genre; most of the movies that I make are films that I try to make scary, try to be a ride and try to be like an experience. I think there is a really big difference between High Tension, The Hills Have Eyes, Piranha, Mirrors or Horns. They are really different explorations of the genre and I tried each time to do something very, very different, and here is even more I think than previously. Piranha was a noir comedy more than a horror movie and here it's even more like a love story with a dark side that's very funny, with a lot of dark humor as well.
     
    Is this your way of moving on from horror then?
     
    I love the genre, I just don't want as a filmmaker to be locked into a place where I have to do the same scene all over again movie after movie... Horns was definitely a big challenge because it was much more character driven and there is the drama side of it and there's this whole new terrain for me to explore.
     
    How did production go?
     
    Production was great! We shot last winter like a few months ago and we finished shooting in December, had such an amazing experience out of it. It's a really amazing cast... you know it's not only Daniel Radcliffe, it's Juno Temple, Max Minghella, Joe Anderson and Kelli Garner. They all form a group, like a group of friends that grew up together and who are all linked by a secret. It's believable, it's very interesting, because I really feel this new generation of actors and Daniel are going to be a big reveal of the movie.
     
    Did you ever worry that Daniel Radcliffe would bring too much of a 'PG-13' image to such a dark story?
     
    Daniel is a very interesting actor; he's very young, he's not even 24. At the same time he's one of the most famous faces ever – he's a brand by himself. It was a very hard term for him to go from the Harry Potter movies to something so different to Horns. I really appreciate the fact that he took that risk, because a lot of actors in the same position would have chose not to expose themselves in such a daring character... he's definitely the character. The story of Horns is about Paradise Lost and about that kind of character... Daniel Radcliffe, he's the fallen angel who has his garden of Eden destroyed the day his girlfriend Juno Temple was raped and killed. It's the really the story of someone who goes to hell and literally starts growing horns and start turning into the devil.. to go out again and find out and kill, and psychically find some kind of... not salvation, but like something that will bring him a little bit closer to her by being on this journey. He had that kind of pure bravado... I'm not quite sure that's the right word in English. He has the soul of the hero. He has the kind of positive things in him where you can see the courage. You can see how he will do everything to find out what happened to the woman he loved. He carried this kind of romanticism somehow. There is no question that he is definitely the best person to play that, and I think no one can expect what he will deliver in the movie. It's really strong, and the heart of his character... it's a gigantic heart. I loved working with him and would do another [film] with him right away.
     
    Is it correct that Shia LaBeouf was originally set to play the lead?
     
    Shia got out of the project before I got attached to the project. It was not during my time. Shia, in the same way as Daniel... you can see the night in them. The kind of cool edge, that kind of inclination of the good guy who can go into the ultimate darkness to find out the light again. 
     
    How faithful is your adaptation to Joe Hill's book?
     
    I tried to be as faithful to the book as possible. The book is very long and we had to make some choices, but everyone who has seen the movie so far is really happy with the translation of the book into the movie.

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    [Warning: Spoilers Ahead!]
     
    Cool _Air
     
    It's no surprise to find among H. P. Lovecraft's work some of the best tales of life-death-reanimation. “Cool Air” is one tale that follows a man through his brief acquaintance with one Dr. Munoz.
     
    It's a first-person narrative, and reads, of course, like a journal. Despite being a pretty short short story, it weaves an intricate environment of interesting people, sights, sounds and discoveries.
     
    Dr. Munoz is a man inhumanly obsessed with the cold. One day, after having a heart attack, the man living below Dr. Munoz's apartment seeks his expertise. The doctor is able to help him and, surviving the heart attack, they become fast friends. But the longer he knows Munoz, the more wary he becomes of him. The strange chemical smells. The cold air. The insistence on maintaining an “even temper.”
     
    As time passes, Munoz needs his living space to be colder and colder, until one day the inevitable happens. The cooling system breaks. There is panic.
     
    The narrator attempts to keep Munoz supplied with ice until he can find someone to fix the cooling system. But when he returns to the apartment it is too late, being that it was a day hotter than most.
     
    He discovers, along with other building residents, a horrific sludge, a stench unlike any other, and a sight fit for the worst nightmares. Terrified by his discoveries, the narrator burns all of Munoz notes on the reanimation process. But in one letter left to the narrator, the doctor reveals that he died – eighteen years prior.
     
    This story sets up pretty obviously, but I think that's because the reveal by itself isn't the point. Despite knowing what is going to happen, no matter how many times it's read, the thrill in “Cool Air” is the creepy tension that builds. The use of language and the pacing in the story makes it seem like there's something sinister around ever turn of a page, in every paragraph. And, despite not revealing everything, it is visually imaginative. The apartment complex, the apartments themselves, the machinery, the people and the final gruesome display – all come to life in stunning and not overbearing detail. It was adapted to screen by Rod Sterling for Night Gallery, and the story has also been adapted for several movies and other projects over the years. 
     
     
    “Cool Air” was first published in the March 1928 issue of Tales of Magic and Mystery.
     
    Nancy O. Greene started writing at the age of nine. Her short story collection, Portraits in the Dark, received a brief mention in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007. Other works have appeared or will appear in ChiZine; Lovecraft eZine; Cemetery Dance; Tales of Blood and Roses; Haunted: 11 Tales of Ghostly Horror; Shroud Publishing's The Terror at Miskatonic Falls; Dark Recesses; Flames Rising; Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore! and others. She has a BA in Cinema (Critical Studies) and a minor in English (Creative Writing) from the University of Southern California, and is a Fellow of Film Independent's Project:Involve.
     

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    BeetlejuiceShout Factory recently released the entire Beetlejuice animated series on DVD. Based on the Tim Burton film, the animated series features Beetlejuice, his best friend Lydia, and their adventures in Beetlejuice’s wacky home world, Neitherworld. There are no special features, just the entire 94-episode run. Back in the late 1980s and the early 1990s, when the show originally aired, no one was thinking about DVD releases - DVDs hadn’t been invented yet. They are all on DVD, they look decent (no restoration, but again: it’s a cartoon) - that is my review.

    So instead of a review of the set, let’s look back at five things you may have forgotten about the show.

    The Rhyme
    In the film, it was enough to say “Beetlejuice” three times to get him there, but in the cartoon, Lydia has a rhyme: "Though I know I should be wary, Still I venture someplace scary; Ghostly hauntings I turn loose ... Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!"

     

    There is a Pink Flamingoes Episode
    In “The Big Face-Off,” Lydia and Beetlejuice take part in a Neitherworld game show to win the title of the Grossest in Neitherworld. This is the exact plot of John Waters’ seminal 1972 ode to bad taste, Pink Flamingoes.  There are dozens of other pop culture references, but none quite as inappropriate as Pink Flamingoes.

    Beetlejuice has an Entourage
    I wouldn’t exactly call them “friends” because Lydia is his only true friend. But there is a cast of recurring characters: Jacques LaLean, a French skeleton bodybuilder (named after famed fitness expert Jack LaLanne); Ginger the tap dancing spider (named after film starlet Ginger Rogers); the big, faceless Texan known only as The Monster Across the Street (and his little dog Poopsie);  and the Dragster of Doom, the car that Beetlejuice built for Lydia (they call him Doomie for short).

    The Deetzes Were “Normal” and the Maitlands Didn’t Exist
    In the original film, Lydia’s mom was a self-centered avant-garde artist and her dad was a “businessman.” In the cartoon, they are far more domesticated, with just a little bit of “cartoon quirk.” They resemble the Maitlands from the film, the ghostly couple who befriend the depressed Lydia. The Maitlands do not exist in the cartoon (though the bridge they died on is featured in the first episode).

    Beetlejuice Aired on Two Networks at Once
    Beetlejuice was one of the few shows to air simultaneously on two different networks during its initial run. The series started on ABC, during their Saturday morning cartoon block. During the third season, the show also aired on Fox as one of their flagship shows during their weekday, after-school programming block.

    Beetlejuice: The Complete Series is now available on DVD.


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    I2_bed

    Last month FEARnet paid a visit to historic (and reportedly haunted) L.A. landmark Linda Vista Hospital, where director James Wan and his cast and crew filmed several key scenes for the highly-anticipated sequel to Insidious. Last night we returned to that spooky locale for an advance screening of the trailer for Insidious: Chapter 2, hosted by the director himself.
     
    LV1
     
    First, we did a creepy walk-through down the hospital's dark and dusty corridors, including several locations used in the film.
     
    LV5
     
    One in particular was the darkened hallway shown above, where my camera captured some trails that may have been floating specks of dust... but then again, there was no breeze blowing in the corridor at the time. I'll let you fill in the rest with your imagination.
     
    LV3
     
    It's also an interesting challenge to try and figure out which of the many oddities encountered in Linda Vista's halls are just leftover set-dressing from the many movies and TV shows shot there, such as these newly-added false doors in the morgue...
     
    LV2
     
    ...and which are genuine artifacts from the hospital's eerie past.
     
    LV9
     
    Then we gathered in the hospital's crumbling chapel for a suitably Gothic presentation of the trailer (which you can watch now via iTunes). It's got all the creeps and jumps you've come to expect, including the return of “Tiptoe Through the Tulips,” now joined by an ominous version of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” and a chilling, repeated phrase uttered by a new psychic character.
     
    I2_boy
     
    Wan followed the preview with a fun Q&A, in which he answered questions from fans and press alike and shared a few tantalizing clues about the sequel.
     
    LV6
     
    For instance, he revealed that another psychic with unique talents comes into play in this film; where part 1 had Lin Shaye donning a gas mask to contact other planes of existence, the next chapter features a medium who uses lettered blocks to spell out messages from beyond. Wan also revealed that where the first film delved heavily into the concept of astral projection, the sequel will touch on time travel.
     
    I2_Lin
     
    The director described Chapter 2 as more of a family-in-crisis tale with supernatural overtones than the original's haunted house-style scenario, and compared the mood to that of The Shining:“In many ways, The Shining is a domestic thriller,” he explained, “where the supernatural element of the hotel accelerates the character's spiral into this crazy world... and our story takes place in a similar realm.”
     
    I2_Horse
     
    In response to a fan question, Wan then told of his own apparent brush with the supernatural, which occurred just a couple of years ago in a New York hotel room. “I sensed an energy, something peculiar in the room,” he said. “That night, I woke up hearing this crying sound, this whimpering next to my bed... so I opened my eyes and looked... and I think I saw a person standing there in the dark, against the wall. I couldn't see their face. In my head I was saying calmly to myself, 'I think I'm seeing an actual ghost here.' I tried to process it very rationally, and told myself 'Now I'm going to reach over to the lamp and pull the switch.'” That's when his experience at telling scary stories backfired on him: “I was getting really terrified,” he said, “that if I turned away, then looked back, that thing's gonna be right in my face!”
     
    I2_Shh
     
    The trailer for Insidious: Chapter 2 is coming soon. The film itself premieres on Friday, September 13th. 

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    berberian sound studioWhen someone says a new movie is "made for horror fans," what they usually mean is that it's fun, fast-paced, nostalgic, and probably pretty self-deprecating or subversive. Movies like Scream, Slither, and The Cabin in the Woods are "made for horror fans" in that way.
     
    Then there are films like Berberian Sound Studio, which is made for horror fans who take the genre very seriously. Not only does this movie hearken back to an era and location that means a lot to the history of horror films, but it also knows what seasoned viewers expect from a conventional terror tale -- and then it messes with those expectations in a series of highly compelling ways.
     
    Set in 1970, Berberian Sound Studio is about a reputable British sound designer who arrives in Italy to begin post-production work on a new film. Unfortunately for the uncomfortable Gilderoy (Toby Jones), the project he's working on is a horror film of a decidedly grotesque nature. Although not accustomed to working on genre films, the newcomer manages to bring a great deal of professional craftsmanship to the project, which is called "The Equestrian Vortex," weirdly enough; Gilderoy's personality may not mesh with those of his newfound Italian colleagues, but nobody in the studio doubts the man's talent for powerful sound design.
     
    It's tough to recall a thriller this obsessed with cinematic sound design outside of Brian De Palma's Blow Out, and it's this seldom-discussed aspect of the filmmaking craft that makes Berberian Sound Studio such a strange but satisfying curiosity. Not only does the film show us how audio trickery is used to make scary movies scary, but director Peter Strickland manages to make "the audio" feel like an extra character in the ensemble. What begins as a character study about a lonely man in a strange place gradually transforms into a dark thriller that poses some compelling questions about the emotional and mental impact of making dark, violent, disturbing films.
     
    Veteran character actor Toby Jones is simply excellent as Gilderoy, and while I'm not familiar with his roster of Italian co-stars, the entire cast is top-drawer. To choose just one example: It's difficult to tell if Antonio Mancino is supposed to be a rendition of Dario Argento, Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci, or an amalgam of adored and egotistical Italian horror masters, but the actor sure is a lot of fun to watch. Also worthy of note, not surprisingly, are a fantastic musical score by Broadcast, and (needless to say) some truly creative use of, you guessed it, sound design.
     

    Berberian Sound Studio starts out pretty simply but you'll want to play closer attention to all the little details as the movie goes on. Things get well and truly bizarre by the middle of Act III, and those who've made the most effort are the ones who'll most appreciate the oddly creepy and darkly poetic finale. It seems like Mr. Strickland and his team have put together a clever little puzzle box of a film in Berberian Sound Studio,and the ones who'll probably enjoy it the most are the old-school giallo junkies -- or those obsessed with the magic of sound design.


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    I have a weird obsession with shoes that look like animals. I have a pair of mouse flats, crab sandals, fish flip-flops, and I regret to this day not buying a pair of rainboots with a whale print. Well, add another pair to that list with these Shark Attack platforms. Featuring a six-inch heel (three inches or so of that is the platform) these pumps are scary enough on their own. But paint a grimacing shark face on them, and you've got something terrifying. But then there are shark fins on the side, and that just makes them special.

    $50 at Sourpuss Clothing


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    friday the 13thThat's right horror fans: even money says we will get a new Friday the 13th movie and a complete Friday the 13th blu-ray box set in the next five years. And why is that? Warner Bros. gave up their rights to the franchise to Paramount, who now has five years to make a film; otherwise the rights revert back to Warner Bros.

    Let's back up a minute. A brief history of the Friday the 13th franchise's ownership history: director Sean Cunningham got funding to make the original F13 from Boston theater owners. Paramount took domestic distribution rights to the franchise; Warner Bros. took international. When the rights reverted back to Cunningham in full, he took F13 to New Line in an attempt to make a Freddy vs. Jason easier to push through the works. New Line had control of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise at that point, so it seemed like a good idea, but even still, it took another 10 years to get the project to market. New Line has since become part of Warner Bros. and when they relaunched the franchise in 2009, it turned out that Paramount still had a 50% stake in the franchise. 

    Now it is 2013, and Paramount has taken the reins to Christopher Nolan's upcoming tentpole, Interstellar. Warner Bros. has a lucrative relationship with the director, having released his Dark Knight trilogy and stand-alone Inception to both high praise and high box office receipts. Naturally, Warner Bros. wants another piece of the Nolan pie, so they have traded their stake in the Friday the 13th franchises to Paramount, in exchange for co-financing Interstellar - and hopefully reaping the rewards.

    This decision had to be relatively easy for Warner Bros, who has been trying to get a sequel to their rebooted F13 off the ground since 2009, but the shared stake in the franchise caused plenty of problems, and obviously has kept the sequel from moving forward. Similarly, we have never gotten a cohesive blu-ray set of the entire Friday the 13th franchise because the rights were shared by multiple studios. Now that it is all under one roof, it would be insane for Paramount not to take advantage and release an insane, comprehensive box set. 

    The catch in this deal (there is always a catch) is that Paramount has the rights for five years. Usually, this means that Paramount will retain the rights if they make at least one Friday the 13th movie in that time, then the rights reset and they will have another five years to make another installment. So with the rights no longer divided between two studios, it seems that there should be no hold-up in another Jason Voorhees movie.

    Source: Hollywood Reporter 


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    COE_WOS

    The creation of multi-talented artist Klaryssa Korolenkov, electro-rock unit Chamber of Echoes incorporates seductive, danceable tunes with an exotic, high-tech theatrical presentation, blending elements of fantasy with dark futuristic overtones. Elaborate visuals, sets and costumes are a key component of their live shows, which dazzled audiences at high-profile L.A. clubs and found them sharing venues with cult faves like Shiny Toy Guns, Dommin and Stolen Babies.
     
    COE_live
     
    Now they've brought that same energy and vision their first video, which we're proud to premiere right here. “World of Silence” is the first single from the album of the same name, which is on track for release later this year. The video was helmed by acclaimed director Chad Michael Ward – whose background includes projects for Marilyn Manson, Combichrist, Aiden and Black Veil Brides – with costumes designed by Eirik Aswang (True Blood) and Carrie Slutskaya. Subliminal imagery, which the band has sometimes incorporated into their promotional art, is both used and critiqued in this dystopian tale.
     
    Stay tuned for more album news, and be sure to visit the band's official site for updates... but right now, fire up the world premiere of “World of Silence” below:
     
    As a bonus, Klaryssa also shared the uncut version of the film loop used to brainwash the video's protagonist (no audio here, just images):
     

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    Cambiare1

    Horror-themed restaurants, bars and clubs are nothing new, and they're cropping up all over the world: the H.R. Giger Bar in Switzerland is built on the Alien designer's creepy biomechanical artwork, and establishments like New York City's Jekyll & Hyde Club have scared and delighted horror-loving patrons for decades. But the owners of Cambiare, a new Italian bar & grill located in Tokyo's “Golden Gai” district in Shinjuku (a haven for Tokyo nightlife), have now made their mark with the first club to base their look and design on Dario Argento's 1977 horror classic Suspiria.
     
    Cambiare6Cambiare2
     
    From the lettering on their sign to the intricate stained glass windows and iris-painted walls, the bar takes a cue from the surreal primary-color set design from Argento's masterpiece.
     
    Cambiare4Cambiare5
     
    Cambiare just set up their Facebook page this week, so drop by and keep watch for more updates and images. I'm willing to volunteer for medical testing in order to raise the funds for a trip to this place... who's with me?
     
    Cambiare7

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    Most of my film viewing predilections fall somewhere between terrifying and downright gory. But, this week I’m taking a break from the hard-to-find grotesque and instead covering a horror musical. Back in 2006, South Korea released Midnight Ballad for Ghost Theater. It was created with the intentions of being South Korea’s answer to Repo! The Genetic Opera or even The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The film was released in South Korea and became an instant cult hit, but then… nothing. The film played a small number of American film fests, and while some of us loved it and were already figuring Midnight Ballad would be the next line of Hot Topic cult-wear, nothing ever came of it. This title has never been released stateside, and there are still no plans to let Midnight Ballad sing overseas.
     
    Ballad2
     
    I know musicals aren’t everyone’s favorite genre, especially among horror fans, but hang on one sec because this is a good one. Sodan is a teenager who is taking care of her ailing grandmother. One night her Grandmother tells Sodan that she wants to see a movie one last time before she dies. Grandma then disappears into the town’s run-down and dilapidated movie theater. Determined that the theater has something to do with her Grandmother’s disappearance, Sodan takes a job working there. She soon discovers that the building is haunted by several ghosts who used to work in the film industry. They assist Sodan in her quest to find her grandmother, all the while telling her stories of past movie-making.
     
    Ballad7
     
    Midnight Ballad feels like an effortless blending of a number of sources. The adult musical aspect chants of the aforementioned Rocky Horror and Repo. The director also demonstrates a huge appreciation of Tim Burton, not only in the evil merriment and music, but also in the use of miniature towns, costuming and set design. There is also this reminiscent praising for movie palaces echoing tones of Cinema Paradiso, Hugo, and Taiwanese Goodbye Dragon Inn about historic Tapei cinema. Midnight Ballad discusses war and how it changed the face of film. It looks at the power of film (especially horror) and how it can change psyches, lives, and reflect society at its best and worst. The film is also a commentary on the death of movie palaces, grandiose and lavish single-screen theatres that are now fading out in exchange for at home viewing. This trend of course is not limited to Korea. Most towns in America have an old movie palace that is either struggling to stay afloat or has long since closed. Ghost Theater examines Korean film history presented through a “film nerd”-style character, and the “film nerd” element truly does transcend any language or cultural barriers. 
     
    Ballad4
     
    I will mention there are a few choice elements of the film that may not translate well for American audiences, and I wonder if these are not part of the reason it has yet to see a release outside of its native soil. Comedy is something that is so sacred and individualized to each culture, and this is a fine example: bulimia. One of the ghosts is bulimic and has a tendency to vomit on her victims. This eating disorder which is taken rather seriously in the states is used as a source of humor during moments of the film. There is also a song where one of the ghosts repeatedly refers to our young protagonist as “sexy.” Though it is used as an ego-booster to bring the teenage character out of her shell, that kind of behavior can get you arrested in America. 
     
    Midnight Ballad is a tad tent-poled. The beginning is amazing, and the end is brilliant, but the mid section can drag a little at times. But please do not take that as a reason not to watch Midnight Ballad. Just think of it more as a warning that though the movie may seem a little dull around the one hour mark, stick with it because the ending is superb.
     
    Ballad3
     
    Last year I was on a panel for horror filmmakers, and an audience member asked us, “If you could remake one film, what would you choose?” I answered with Midnight Ballad for Ghost Theater. At the time, I would have loved to see this one get a rehash. But now I question if this rare gem shouldn’t stay as it is- a flawed yet beautiful flick that not everyone is going to “get”, but a unique few are going to absolutely love. 
     
    Again, this one is not available stateside or much else in the world for that matter. You can purchase DVDs from Amazon and eBay but you will need a region-less player. Luckily, even though it is not an international release, the South Korean DVD comes with well-translated English-subtitles.
     
    Ballad1

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    Love4

    This bizarre item came across our radar thanks to the music site Consequence of Sound: a European developer has designed a new video game inspired by the ultimate dark-rock band, Joy Division. For those of you who need a little background, Joy Division is considered by many to be the original Gothic rock group, who formed in the UK in the late '70s and released several hit songs including the classic “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” counter-balancing the punk trend at that time and changing the path of rock music forever. The band's career was cut short in 1980 when frontman Ian Curtis committed suicide, but the other members went on to form another iconic band, New Order.
     
    Joy_Div
     
    So that's the setup, but now you're probably wondering how the hell this could translate to video game play. Well, UK developer Mighty Box Games believe they have the answer to that. The browser-based game follows the title song's themes of damaged relationships to create “a dark and frustrating perspective on love,” with each game level based on a different verse.
     
    Love3
     
    According to creator Gordon Calleja, the game rules are driven by “ambition to frustrate, upset and sting the player into remembering the dark days preceding the death of a relationship,” and it encourages players to “reflect on the darker side of love.” The promo clip below doesn't come with a content warning, but those coming off of a nasty breakup might want to seriously consider waiting a little while before diving into this one. 
     
     
    Otherwise, grab some snacks, fire up the game at this link (note: it doesn't appear to be supported by mobile devices yet), and settle in for a fun-filled afternoon of hopelessness and despair!

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    Injustice: Gods Among Us has the advantage of literally hundreds, if not thousands of characters to digitize as fighters for potential DLC to blister our thumbs and gut our wallets.  So it seems kind of odd that the next DLC character has been announced as Mortal Kombat’s Scorpion.  Huh?

    Well, the trailer below from Joystiq manages to draw a more solid connection between the franchises, which clashed in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, by revealing that Scorpion’s yellow togs have been redesigned by DC Comics’ Co-Publisher and iconic artist Jim Lee.  The redesign has some obvious elements to it (Scorpion’s trademark spear is now barbed like a venomous tail), but it’s instantly recognizable as both a product of Jim Lee’s pen and the character himself.

    While it may cheese off some DC fans (give me Swamp Thing, you sons of bitches!), I will admit I have a long-standing love affair with the undead, fire-breathing ninja, and a minor spoiler at the end of the trailer reveals the fourth DLC character…and it’s a doozy.  It’s not Swamp Thing, though.  Bastards.

     


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    Storms can be powerful agents of change. Just ask anyone in Moore, Oklahoma, about the changes their lives and surroundings underwent a couple of weeks ago; ask anyone in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, about the changes they saw back in April of 2011. These changes weren’t sought out, and they certainly weren’t welcome, but once those clouds stacked high and began to rotate, the changes were inevitable.

    John Mantooth knows about storms. He was raised in Alabama, where tornado warnings in the spring are as common as mosquito bites and triple-digit temperatures in the summer. He’s seen the damage twisters can do. He knows that they can upend houses and lives with ease and an almost callous disregard. It’s no surprise then that tornadoes play such an integral part in his debut novel, The Year of the Storm. There are the real storms that tear through the pages of this book, wreaking havoc on this small, fictional corner of Alabama; and there are the metaphorical storms that rip through the lives of two teenagers who experience the upheaval decades apart, but eventually find that the damage binds them inextricably.

    One of the boys is named Walter, and years ago his small town was traumatized by the disappearance of two young girls. The other is Danny, who lives in the same town in present day. The mystery of the two young girls still hangs over the place, but there are other disappearances that haunt Danny – namely, that of his mother and sister, who left the house one day and never came back. When Walter returns to the town the lives of the boy and the man begin to dovetail together, and the ghosts that haunt them both begin to clamor for the truth to come out.

    Although largely grounded in the “real world,” there is a large supernatural element to Storm, an element that is the cornerstone of the truth that Danny is seeking. It’s integral to the story, but Mantooth handles it with a deft touch, never allowing it to overshadow the narrative. This is no hokey spook story; this is a sad, intensely personal story about loss and loneliness, with a powerful mystery and a compelling hook at its core.

    The unbelievable things that Walter and, later, Danny come to believe are a wedge that separates them from family, friends and – ultimately, and far too soon – their childhood. Striking out on your own has a way of making you grow up fast. Both learn this firsthand, as the things they see and experience isolate them from those they thought they could count on. Authority figures grow suspicious, parents grow frustrated, and friends grow apart, leaving a confused young man and a bitter old man with no choice but to rely on one another. 

    I’ve read reviews and blurbs that compare The Year of the Storm to works by Stephen King and Robert McCammon, and there’s truly no higher praise I can heap on the book. Suffice to say that I find both comparisons to be quite apt. Like King, Mantooth displays the ability to create rich, believable characters out of thin air. Like McCammon, he perfectly captures what it’s like to grow up too fast in a rural town where secrets are widely discussed, gossip is prime currency, and the sins of the family can be a permanent mark against you.

    The Year of the Storm is as strong a debut novel as any I’ve read in a long time. It’s frightening and sad, vicious and unforgiving, quiet and contemplative. It’s a helluva start to what’s surely going to be a career worth watching.

    The Year of the Storm by John Mantooth at Amazon.com

    Blu Gilliand is a freelance writer of fiction and nonfiction. He covers horror fiction at his blog, October Country, and contributes interviews to the Horror World website. Follow him on Twitter at @BluGilliand. 


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    J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot production company just picked up the rights to Rod Serling's final, unproduced screenplay, The Stops Along the Way.

    Details on the plot remain secret, but if it came from Serling and has been picked up by Abrams, it's got to be dark and creepy. Rod Serling, of course, created and wrote The Twilight Zone, recently named the third-best written TV show of all time by the Writers Guild of America. He was also behind Night Gallery, the more supernatural and "horror" anthology series that came after The Twilight Zone.

    The plan is to bring The Stops Along the Way to television as a limited-run miniseries. Abrams has not said if he will be directing the project, or just producing, but it seems like Bad Robot is aiming for a spot on the 2013-2014 schedule.

    Source: Hollywood Reporter


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    This amazing little ecosystem comes from Etsy artist Rachel, an illustrator and botanist. Does it look familiar? It should: this is a replica of the Maitlands' house in Beetlejuice. Built at just over an inch tall and made out of wax, the model is settled in amongst moss and trees that replicate the rolling hills in the film. 

    The moss in the terrarium is living, and as such requires some minor upkeep to keep it alive. Rachel promises it is simple and includes an instruction sheet.

    $315 at Etsy.com


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    The word “remake” has become a dirty term in most cinematic circles as it so often indicates a fundamental lack of creativity or, at the very least, a studio’s craven need to make money repeatedly from the same audience. The thinking is that, if you liked it once, you’ll probably like it again. However, there are few things less terrifying than being fully aware exactly where and when a person plans to jump out and scream “Boo!”, so it’s not that surprising that most horror movie remakes fail to connect creatively with audiences. But the operative word in that previous sentence is “most.” There actually are some undeniably great take-twos or even threes in the horror genre, almost always the product of filmmakers – such as David Cronenberg, Matt Reeves, or Zach Snyder – who were willing to reinterpret a work and make it their own, instead of just blandly recycling the original concept. Horror fans everywhere have pondered the best remakes of every horror subgenre ad nauseam, but what about the remakes that didn’t just appease the appetites of a very critical fan base but had significant commercial impact as well (or maybe instead)? What horror remakes most influenced the generations of horror remixes to follow? If you’re looking for horror remakes that undeniably left a sizable footprint on the film industry as a whole, here are our picks, in chronological order…

    Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

    Philip Kaufman’s remake of the 1956 sci-fi/horror classic was one of the most impactful event films of the late ‘70s (in any genre) and helped legitimize the idea of auteurs tackling what was once considered B-movie subject matter. Kaufman’s reimagining of the pod people for an increasingly distrustful generation raised on Watergate and Vietnam made such waves that Variety claimed that it singlehandedly validated the concept of remakes in the first place. And it wasn’t a remake of a “traditionally respected drama,” but rather a drive-in flick that advertised “They come from another world!” Kaufman proved with Body Snatchers that it wasn’t necessarily the source that mattered, as much as the approach taken by the people remaking it. With a smart script (that earned a Writers Guild nomination), a multi-talented cast, and incredible direction, Body Snatchers shattered expectations critically and commercially, landing in the top 25 for the year at the box office and earning rave reviews. Kaufman’s work here proved that directors of horror remakes needn’t be filmmakers-for-hire, which arguably led to a wave of similarly artistic reinterpretations of B-movies in the ‘80s from Carpenter, Cronenberg, and more.

    Influenced: The Thing (1982), Cat People (1982), The Fly (1986)

    House on Haunted Hill (1999)

    I didn’t say “good,” just influential. The remake and slasher trends of the ‘80s had given way to the relatively tame decade of the ‘90s, overrun with sequelitis and only saved in the end by a strong independent horror movement. Two studios would really rebuild the concept of the horror movie remake in the ‘00s, Platinum Dunes and Dark Castle. Since the latter came first, they get the blue ribbon in the influential contest. Dark Castle’s first remake, House on Haunted Hill certainly didn’t have the critical heft of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but it did feature a strong cast pedigree (including an Oscar winner in Geoffrey Rush), relatively small budget, and it opened at #1 at the box office before a HUGE run on DVD. Get at least one respectable star, maybe a couple of pretty people from TV, keep the budget under $50 million, and the success will come (if not the quality). At least it did for a decade for Dark Castle and Platinum Dunes.

    Influenced: Thir13en Ghosts (2001), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), The Amityville Horror (2005), House of Wax (2005), The Hitcher (2007), Friday the 13th (2009), A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

    The Ring (2002)

    In many ways, it’s the gold standard of modern remakes and it led the way for a wave of Asian horror remakes that wouldn’t come close to matching it in terms of reputation, quality, or influence. While Asian horror was making waves through import DVD outlets, Verbinski and the team behind The Ring proved that it was a movement that could translate to multiplex American audiences. One of the main reasons that The Ring works as well as it does is the driven performance at its center by Naomi Watts, a factor missing from not just the rest of the Asian remake trend that it influenced, but also in most remakes in general. The lesson that most filmmakers took from The Ring was that there was this relatively untapped vein of foreign horror films just waiting for them to remake. What they should’ve learned was that, as with all remakes, it’s the talent of the band that performs the cover tune, and not always the tune itself, that matters. Note: The Ring also deserves major influential credit for ushering in a new wave of PG-13 horror, for better or worse. 

    Influenced: The Grudge (2004), The Eye (2008), Shutter (2008), The Uninvited (2009)

    Dawn of the Dead (2004)

    Adapting cinematic gold standards had proven to be remake poison in the past (Van Sant’s Psycho, for example) and so it was with heavy trepidation that most horror fans approached Zach Snyder’s take on what is indisputably one of the best genre flicks ever made. Who is this kid daring to tackle King Romero? And so the surprise was even greater when Snyder’s film turned out to be a taut, action-packed thriller that really works on its own. (And isn’t that the key to ALL successful remakes? They should build on the source material, but also stand fully on their own merit.) The zombie genre became one of the most prominent of the ‘00s for a number of reasons, including the sociopolitical fears of the real world (interesting how times of international hardship always seem to reboot interest in zombies). But the genre also resurged because a cadre of undeniably talented filmmakers - Snyder, Danny Boyle (28 Days Later…), and Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead), among others - jumped into the undead pool with both feet and reminded us of the pleasures of the living dead. It’s hard to remember now that zombies are such a prominent part of the independent/low-budget horror movement that you can’t attend a film festival without seeing something about the undead, but, at the start of the twenty-first century, zombies weren’t regarded as cool anymore. But thanks to directors like Snyder and remakes like Dawn of the Dead, the impact of the zombie resurgence is still being felt today.

    Influenced: Most major zombie films since from Land of the Dead (2005) to World War Z (2013)


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    MIW_America

    We were stoked to have one of our favorite bands visit the FEARnet studio recently: Philadelphia-based extreme metallers Motionless in White have been kicking much ass since we first featured them on these pages, with the latest landmark being the release of their second full-length album Infamous. This week the band unleashed their latest music video “America,” which joins their growing rogue's gallery of shocking and controversial visuals, and marks their first collaboration Shawn “Clown” Crahan, best known as the percussionist and official artist/chronicler for Slipknot. Motionless previously teamed up with Cody Snider (son of Twisted Sister's Dee Snider) for the stunning “Immaculate Misconception,” which made its world premiere on FEARnet (watch it here if you dare), and their latest is sure to ruffle even more feathers.
     
    MIW_Infamous_DI
     
    Frontman Chris Motionless and keyboardist Josh Balz sat down with us to talk about the shocking “America” video and the ideas behind the single itself (which also appears on the upcoming Infamous Deluxe Edition, hitting iTunes next week), as well as the undercurrents of horror in their music. Of course, Chris and the band are huge horror fans, so naturally we had to find out more about that too. Check out the exclusive interview right here!
     
    Next up, here's the video for “America.” It's technically work-safe, assuming you have a very tolerant employer...
     
     
    But don't go yet... Motionless in White is also playing the Rockstar Mayhem Festival Tour this month, along with Rob Zombie, Mastodon, Five Finger Death Punch, Children of Bodom, Machine Head, Job for a Cowboy and tons more. Visit the Mayhem site for a full list of venues.

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    pacific rimWe are still nearly a month away from Pacific Rim’s release in theaters on July 12th. The giant robots versus giant monsters movie directed by Guillermo del Toro is sure to be the biggest genre film of the summer. If you are impatient like me, you can pick up the new graphic novel, Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero. Travis Beacham wrote the graphic novel in addition to the screenplay, and he tells us about why Tales from Year Zero won’t be a spoiler to the movie.

    How did you go about adapting the idea of Pacific Rim into a graphic novel? Because the graphic novel is not just a tie-in with the film, but a new story.

    I had the story idea back in 2007 and kind of sat on it for awhile, to let it come together until I felt equipped to talk about it to other people. I think it was around 2011 when Legendary picked it up, and Guillermo very quickly came on board. It started to come together as a movie at that point.

    Was the graphic novel always part of the Pacific Rim plan?

    There was always this idea that we would do a graphic novel, because Legendary has their comics imprint. It came about in a weird way, or at least the story did. The movie that we were doing takes place in a world much bigger [than the movie]. In order to make it feel organic and alive and realistic, you have to imagine all the details and history of that world, even the stuff you might not eventually use. So we ended up with a lot of supplemental material and a lot of backstory and a lot of history. The movie takes place about a decade after the first kaiju attack. So that is the world we come in to. When we got to talking about a graphic novel, I think we all thought that, instead of doing a straight-up adaptation of the movie, it would be fun to utilize a lot of this supplemental material, to create something that would add to the experience of the movie. It fills in some of the history that the movie doesn’t necessarily go into. 

    So it’s a prequel to the movie. In the graphic novel, we see the first kaiju, we see the first jaeger, and we meet a few of the characters early on in their careers and see some of the formative moments that made them who they are. We also meet some new characters who, in their own way, are very important to the mythology.

    pacific rimFrequently screenwriters are done with a movie the moment they type “The End.” How involved were you?

    It has come together in a way that nothing I have ever worked on has. Usually you turn in your first draft of something and you cross your fingers, then however many years later you see the trailer. With this, I was fortunate that Guillermo trusted me and the producers trusted me, and they kept me in the loop as much as they possibly could. So I got to see it come together and I got to be involved. I was on set - not constantly, but I made appearances. There is so much choreography with a film like this: the sets, the action scenes, especially when you are in the cockpit of the jaegers... there is not a lot of writing on the fly, apart from improvisational exercises that the writer and director play around with. I think Guillermo might be more comfortable with that than having writers actually dictate the pages.

    Are you a big fan of monsters?

    Oh yeah. I’ve always loved giant monsters and giant robots. I used to watch Voltron when I was a kid; I burned out my tapes of Godzilla. I was really, really nuts about that stuff. I think when I got to be a screenwriter and I started thinking about what movies I wanted to see, it was a modern version of that subgenre.

    I think this applies to the comic and the movie: You know the robots are going to be fun to write, and you know the monsters are going to be fun to write, but you don’t necessarily know if you have a story at all unless the stuff in between is fun to write; that the characters and the problems are interesting; that you feel something for them. The movie, much to my delight, as well as the comic, have all the monster and robot action that I have come to love, but also has the character depths that I had hoped they would have. There is no reason why a character can’t be interesting.

    Will the art style we see in the comic “match” what we see on the screen?

    Yeah. The artists had a lot of reference material to go from, but they also brought their own visual style to it. We have five pencilers who each have their own unique style that they bring to the story. The design aesthetic, as far as what the jaegers and what the kaiju look like is very connected to the design process of the movie. We actually used unused designs from the movie in the comic. So if you see a jaeger or a kaiju in the comic, it is likely that it came from the movie design team. There really is a unity of purpose between the two, and the story and the look weave together because the creative teams behind each were basically the same people.

    Is the graphic novel just a one-off, or is there a plan to serialize it?

    I would do as many as people wanted to see! I loved playing around in this sandbox, and the world definitely has the potential to have more stories come to life. I would definitely not rule out further exploits in any medium, really.

    “Any medium?” Are you guys already working on a sequel to the movie?

    Oh yeah! That’s definitely something we are talking about. It is a world that we are constantly imagining stories taking place in. That is what is really interesting to me.


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